But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
People tend to judge the character and worth of others by looking at outward appearances. If a person is tall, good-looking or physically attractive, and tastefully dressed, then he or she possesses physical qualities that humans generally admire and respect. Often these are the physical qualities we seek in a leader. I recall after the 2016 election many conservative Christians made statements regarding our former President like, “‘I’m Not Electing A Pastor In Chief’, or “We Need A President, Not A Pastor.” We rarely consider their character or behavior and how it will impact our future. But God has the unique ability to see inside a person’s heart. God knows our true character because he “looks at the heart.”
After his rejection of all David’s brothers, God reveals the difference between himself and the world when it comes to judging people. Man looks at appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. In 1 Samuel 16, the time had come for Samuel to go to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint Israel’s next king. As Samuel looked at Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab, Samuel was impressed with what he saw. “Surely, this is the man the Lord wants me to anoint,” said the prophet (vs. 6). But God told Samuel, “Don’t look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see. Humans look at outward appearances, but the LORD looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, GWT).
God alone can read the heart, attitudes and motives of a person. He is not influenced by our outward façade nor the good works we manufacture nor even the exemplary words that may flow from our lips – for the heart of every person is full of deceit. Appearances can be deceiving. The outward appearance doesn’t reveal what people are really like. Physical looks don’t show us a person’s value or character or integrity or faithfulness to God. Outward qualities are, by definition, superficial. Moral and spiritual considerations are far more important to God. It is the one who trusts the Lord and acts upon His word that pleases God. It is the man or woman who loves the Lord their God with all their heart and soul and mind and strength that satisfies the heart of the Lord.
Today, the moral character of many of our political leaders, regardless of political party, can be called into question. My spirit is sorely grieve when I see politicians acting in a manner that reflects personal bias or defaming others for personal gain. God looks at the heart of these leaders. God established authorities for the fulfillment of His purposes. He has given governmental authorities the authority to act as His servants for the good of all to encourage good/right and to punish and discourage wrongdoing (Romans 13:1-6).
The heart in Scripture is a person’s inner moral and spiritual life. Proverbs 4:23 explains that everything we do flows from our hearts. The heart is the core, the inner essence of who we are: “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45).
In 2019, I wrote the original post Matters Of The Heart, and Matters Of The Heart Part 2, after observing a decline in the behavior of people over a period of time following the 2016 election. I posed a question to the reader: What is the condition of your heart? In reality, most people don’t think about the condition of their hearts.
I decided to revisit this post while preparing to write a new post titled “Don’t let your heart deceive you?” Scripture says that satan is a deceiver who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9). I believe that many people have been deceived throughout the years regarding issues of race, religion and politics.
I stated the following in the original post:
We have entered into a new era. Things are rapidly changing on earth. “Church as usual” is over. God is calling the church to turn! The church as we’ve known it is about to change. We are not called to “do” church. We are called to “be” the church. It’s time to take off the “old self with its old practices” and be “renewed in knowledge in the image of the creator” (Col. 3:9-10).
Righteous ones, its time to seek the Lord like never before. God has been calling His people to change from the inside out. Change is necessary for all of God’s people. It’s time to let go of the past. Let go of religion. Let go of sin and anything that keeps you from drawing closer to God in obedience.
Little did I know at the time that a global pandemic would bring challenges to the church’s ability to host services in the traditional manner. My hope is that revisiting this message will open your eyes to the truth about your own heart. Apostle Paul prayed for the church of Ephesus that God would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that they may know Him better. He also prayed that the eyes of their heart would be enlightened so they would know the hope to which they had been called, the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in His Holy people, and His great power for those who believe. That same power He put forth when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at the highest place of honor and supreme authority (Ephesians 1:1718).
In these turbulent times, knowing God and His ways will make all the difference when the enemy comes to deceive even the very elect (Matthew 24:24),
Min. Dr. A. Francine Green
Notes: All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).